tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 20, 2013 7:00pm-7:41pm EST
at the department of defense as the n.s.a. is an integral part of the department of defense. in fact, this bill already contains half a dozen provisions that affect the n.s.a. in one way or another, so it has been our view that this amendment is clearly germane to the bill. it also directs the comptroller general to conduct an assessment of the economic impact of recently disclosed surveillance programs. the fact of the matter is that surveillance policy doesn't just affect foreign relations, although clearly it does affect our foreign relations. we see practically every day accounts of how our allies are concerned about their relations with us because of questions with respect to whether the privacy of their citizens are affected. so when you're talking about allies, you're talking about
partnerships we need to protect america in a dangerous world, and, of course, at the same time you're talking about how in a fragile economy some of america's leading companies, those on the cutting edge of our future, for example, with cloud technology the distinguished president of the senate and i have talked about. this is an area where americans have a big, big lead, and we don't want to fritter it away as we also suffer in terms of our national security, in terms of our relationships with allies. so there are high stakes here, and i'm very hopeful that we will have a chance to get a vote on this legislation. as i say, with senator mikulski particularly the role that she has played as chair of the appropriations committee, i think we've got a chance to
jump-start the broader debate about intelligence, we've got a chance to set the record straight about some of the comments that the intelligence leadership has made in the past that are either wrong, misleading, or kind of shrouded in intelligence-speak that's almost incomprehensible lingo that you try to sort through in terms of what they have to say, and i'm very hopeful that the senate will want to join senator udall, senator mikulski, myself, i snow senator blumenthal and others are interested in it, in taking the next logical, common step approach in terms of intelligence reform and that is to come out foursquare for this approach which i'd like to state does not ban any collection tool at all that is now used by the government but it requires that
thereby basic -- there be basic transparency and accountability in how they're used. that is long overdue and let me have my friend and colleague from colorado wrap up and express to him how much i appreciate it. i note that somehow the presidency of the senate seems to be passed from one supporter of intelligence reform to another since the distinguished senator from connecticut was just there, we've just been joined by senator heinrich who has been a very valuable partner in these efforts as well. i want to thank him and allow the last word to the -- tore offered by the senator from colorado. mr. udall: you cannot go wrong with transparency. transparency is a central spirit of america. i want to recognize the senator from connecticut, senator blumenthal. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my two colleagues who have led this effort well before i became involved. senator udall and senator wyden. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut is recognized. mr. blumenthal: thank you.
have helped to lead this effort because there was any real disclosure about some of the excesses that have been so dramatically revealed over the recent past. and as a colleague in this effort, i want to thank them for their relentless courage in blowing whistle -- the whistle, quite bluntly, telling america that there was something wrong even when they couldn't reveal exactly what was wrong, saying that the american people would be outraged if they knew, if only they could be told. and that kind of bravery and strength has given energy and momentum to this debate. i am chagrined that we will not be debating and acting on it in
connection with the national defense authorization act if the present circumstances prevail and amendments are limited. i do believe it is past time to be talking about enacting on these issues, to move for greater accountability and transparency, one of the amendments that i have sponsored would call for a more adversarial process to expose more of the truth before the judges who make these decisions before the appointment of a constitutional advocate. the hour is late today and i hope at another time to talk about these issues in greater detail. but i want to simply say that the time now is more urgent than ever to confront and address these short comings in the present system and i think the intelligence community itself will help us greatly and has raised that all of america will
benefit greatly, including their work. i want to salute the very talented and dedicated members of that intelligence community who have done their work literally in secret for so long helping to save americans around the globe from terrorism and other threats. and i think we need to change the system in ways that are worthy of the challenges they confront every day, and at the same time make sure we have trust and confidence in america, trust and confidence in the system, trust and confidence in both the need for and the tools and weapons we use to further american intelligence in the combat against terrorism. again, i just want to thank my two colleagues who are on the floor today and tell them i look forward to working with them in the next few days, if it's possible to achieve these
reforms, so be it, if not, we will continue the work. thank you. mr. udall: i thank the senator from connecticut, the senator from oregon. the presiding officer, who has been engaged in this. and i know the senator from arizona who is here is interested in these discussions as well. thanks again. i yield the floor. mr. flake: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, we're now halfway -- at the halfway point in the countdown to the next budget deadline. by december 1, the budget conference committee has to report the plan for the remainder of fiscal year 2014 and beyond. we're already two and a half months into the fiscal year. it's critical that the conferees agree on funding the government within the framework of the budget control act. as i mentioned before on the senate floor, the b.c.a. which places caps on discretionary spending has provided us with a necessary dose of fiscal discipline. while the b.c.a. is not a silver
bullet that fixes all of our problems, it represents $2 trillion in projected deficit savings that improves the nation's long-term fiscal outlook. without it federal spending would go unchecked. allowing the deficits to be even higher. in 2014, the deficit reached $680 billion. in 2014 it's estimated to go up to -- i'm sorry $750,000 -- i'm sorry, billion dollars. i should -- should congress choose to ignore the b.c.a. we'll find ourselves even deeper in the red. in fact, some across the aisle have indicated that they want to spend a whopping $91 billion more than the b.c.a. mandates in 2014 alone. instead of offering smart spending cuts to eliminate waste and prioritizing funds, many are compiling a list of their favorite tax hikes to replace the sequester. mr. president, that action
fails to recognize one simple point, a point i made on the floor last week, and one that i will make over and over again. washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. in fact, 2013 set a record for the most taxes ever collected. $2.77 trillion, a 13% increase from 2013. yet some of my colleagues want taxpayers to shoulder the burden of their plans to increase federal spending. while the b.c.a. has proved to help to moderate the federal budget -- the federal budget's hunger for taxpayer dollars, make no mistake, this budget is still bloated. anyone who says there's nothing left to cut simply isn't looking hard enough. last week i offered my suggestion for cutting waste at the department of agriculture. just the programs i highlighted and there are surely others, would save $5 billion when compared with the president's budget. today i want to share with you
some similar fiscal follies at the department of energy. the department of energy spends anistonnishing amount of taxpayer dollars on industries and technologies that are already well established in the public marketplace. but a few examples stand out more as the agency's growing role -- few examples stand out more than the agency's growing role in the automotive industry. take, for instance, the vehicle technologies program which is slated to receive $575 million under the president's 2014 budget. this program conducts research and development into seemingly every facet of vehicle manufacturing from hybrid technologies to engine efficiency to advanced lightweight materials. it even goes so far as to draw up marketing strategies to promote consumer acceptance of products like electric vehicles and renewable fuels. is there really anyone in
america who doesn't know what an electric vehicle is? or what it does? yet we're supposed to spend money to improve computer -- i'm sorry, consumer acceptance of these products. the vehicle technologies program has also awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to automakers including chrysler, ford and general motors since 2010 the program has received $1.2 billion of taxpayer funds. curiously, the vehicle technologies program official online listing of goals and accomplishments has not even been you wanted since 2010. another well-established industry benefiting from taxpayer largess is wind nrk. don't take my word for it. just read d.o.e.'s budget request which promptly highlight wind industry's -- quote -- "greates success in deploying land-based technologies over the last five years ends -- quote --." you may recall steven chu's
admission he considers wind a mature technology. why then, mr. president, are we pumping money into a technology that even d.o.e. indicates should be able to stand on its own? a recent research study made headlines when it reported that the u.s. is both the world's largest wind market and home to the world's number-one wind power supplier, general electric. a recent g.a.o. report found 82 federal wind-related initiatives funded across nine agencies cost $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2011. this is for what we've been told is a mature technology. what's more troubleling than the sheer cost of the fragmented wind program is g.a.o.'s finding more than 80% of those programs have overlapping characteristics. g.a.o.'s subsequent recommendation seems reasonable enough that the d.o.e. should formally assess and document
whether federal financial support of its initiatives is actually needed. yet the president's budget released one month later recommends an unprecedented funding level of $144 million for the d.o.e. wind energy program just in 2014. wind's windfall at d.o.e. comes at the heels of another -- yet another extension of the multibillion-dollar wind production tax credit. this tax credit was temporarily established more than two decades ago to encourage investment in the then fledgling wind industry. this is two decades ago. congress gave energy a seven-year window to take advantage of and prepare for the expiration of the original p.t.c. in 1999. given seven years. but to the surprise of no one parochial interests and a host of extensions continue to keep this zombie subsidy from expiring as designed.
today as the credit supporters repeat their plea for just one more extension, they ignore america's debt-ridden reality and so the walking dead wind production tax credit which is little more than a taxpayer funded entitlement program, lives on. while i've singled out automotive and wind programs at d.o.e. similar arguments could be made for reducing or eliminating the department's support for other established industries including oil, natural gas, solar, and nuclear. many of these programs are both unnecessary for further development of these technologies and are blatantly duplicative. in fact, another g.a.o. study identified a mind-boggling 6779 renewable energy initiatives across 23 agencies in fiscal year 2010. prominently featured in a report from in a report from my colleague from oklahoma, senator coburn, these cost $15 billion just in 2010 lien.
instead of continuing to pick winners and losers, congress needs to reduce its footprint in well established areas of the energy sector. not only would this help level the playing field for emerging energy technologies prepare to compete in the marketplace, it would save taxpayers untold billions of dollars. with just one month to go before the budget deadline, i urge my colleagues to reject the urge to fixate on raising taxes and instead help focus negotiations on smart, achievable spending reductions. by eliminating waste and prioritizing spending within the b.c.a. framework, we are shore up this country's fiscal future. turning out the lights on wasteful programs at the department of energy would be a step in the rate direction. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. blume brume thank you, mr. president. i ask that the quorum call be lifted. officethe presiding officer: wit objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i want to ask if there's unanimous consent that i be permitted to join the resolution
that has been offered by senators durbin and a separate resolution offered by senators collins and klobuchar relating to the fight against alzheimer's disease. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. all of us have been touched by this dreaded and pernicious disease. alzheimer's strikes families, loved ones, colleagues, coworkers, friends, acquaintan acquaintances, literally all of us, and increasingly so because the numbers are multiplying, almost epidemic-like across the country. of course, classifying it as an epidemic is difficult to do because we scarcely understand. we are only beginning to
comprehend what the causes and the modus operandi are of this pernicious ailment. and i am joining in these resolutions because of the need to express and call attention to the deadly and insidious spread of alzheimer's and the nation's failure to effectively address it. we kne know that the numbers of people suffering from alzheimer's are increasing drastically, and this resolution rightly calls attention to the dimensions of the problem. but, as important as those numbers are, even more so are the numbers of dollars that reflect the nation's failure to take action that is so desperately needed. as my colleague from maine has
highlighted earlier, we spend $500 million in research compared to $6 billion for cancer, $3 billion for h.i.v., $2 billion for cardiovascular efforts. these numbers do not reflect any excess spending on cardiovascular or cancer or other kinds of medical problems, for which the national institutes of health does such great work -- and others in the private sector supported by philanthrophy do as well. in fact, if anything, perhaps we should be considering expanding those efforts. but the numbers do reflect the disproportion and the indiana adequacy of what -- and the
inadequacy of what we are spending now we as a nation are devoting into researching alzheimer's. the estimate, according to the national alzheimer's project act and its representatives, is in the neighborhood of $2 billion a year as the minimum we should be spending to develop dyin diagnos and cures and treatment and we should be doubling or tripling funding. and yet even this minimal fund something in danger by this sequestration, which has also jeopardized many other research projects supported by the national institutes of health. this abdication of responsibility is a tragedy -- for us as a generation who will
suffer from it in intold numbers, and for the next generation that could be saved from this disease. and so i'm proud to join in this effort to match the severity of the challenge with public consciousness and awareness and, even more important, public dollars and resources that are vitally important to assure that we concur and cure as much of alzheimer's as we can as quickly as possible. we owe it to ourselves and our children. there are many ways in life to feel alone. there are many forms of isolation. some might say, even in this body, surrounded by people members can be alone at points, alone in championing causes,
alone in thought. but there are few conditions that match the aloneness of an alzheimer's patient, often cut off from the world by an inability to communicate, and we must reach out to those patients who cannot let us know, who cannot describe, as they might want to do, their aloneness and their resolve. so, for them and for all our loved ones and friends and family and coworkers who now and in the future will suffer from the disease, let us resolve in this resolution that we will do more, and as a nation we will confront this challenge. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, this has been a long system and a difficult one for me to go through. being the ranking member on the armed services committee, i have
had constant contact with both the democrats and republicans on this bill. and i can this bill to be the most important bill of the year, and i've said that several times. i've given several speeches up here in the last week on this. and i've about decided with the last offer that was made by our side was to come up with 50 amendments, limit it to 50 amendments. the argument there -- that would not be 50 votes. if you look at it historically -- and i have the numbers going all the way back for the last 15 years -- for the last year, for example, we had 106 amendments, only 34 voice-voted, only recorded votes. so when we say 50, we're only talking about probably 20. now, of course the democrats would want to have 50 also. what i've decided that i'm going to do -- because i have to decide what i'm going to do with my vote -- i'm either going to
vote for or against cloture on my own bill. that would be a very awkward thing for me to determine. but i have tried to get ahold of pat -- senator toomey, who is kind of the lead person on the steering committee and the one where most of the amendments would come from, most of the objections have come from, and i have said that if you'll pare that down from 50 to 25, then i'm sure that it would be reasonable for the democrats to have 25. that's a total of 50. it probably would end up being maybe 20 recorded votes. if you, our republicans, are willing to bring that number down and say, yes, we will go afforforward with this bill if n have 25, move it down from 50 to 25. if we refuse to do that i am going to go ahead and vote to support cloture and support our bill. ed on the otheon the other handr toomey and the rest of the
republicans say no, we want to have all 50, and i look at this list and i see we have some members that have as many as nine -- and i don't think that's being totally reasonable. so if they say, no, we're not going to bring our number down to 25, then i'll going to support the bill. however, if they do agree to bring it down -- and i a already talked -- and i a already talked to the majority side about this -- and they refuse to come down to 25, then i would join in opposing the cloture on the bill when it comes up. so i want to make sure that there's no misunderstanding right now. i'd like to say that i could get ahold of everyone tonight. i have tried. they said that at 7:30 they're going to make a decision. it's 7:29 now, so i had to get on record. i don't have time -- i'll repeat it one more time. if the republicans refuse to bring their number down to 25, then i will go ahead and support the bill and support the passage of the bill through cloture.
if they do agree to do it and the democrat sited side, the may side, decides that they are not going to accept the 25 offer, then i will oppose and vote against cloture on going to the bill. there you have it. thank you, mr. president. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i have a cloture motion at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on s. 1197, a bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the department of defense and so forth and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators as follows -- reid of nevada,
levin, durbin, kaine, feinstein, hagan, mikulski, donnelly, udall of colorado, mccaskill, coons, shaheen, warner, reed of rhode island, murray, nelson, king. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent that we now proceed to a period of morning business, senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 304, 305, 306, 307 and 308. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the senate will proceed. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolutions be agreed to, the
preambles be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table and blocked with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i'm told that s. 1752 is due for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the first time. the clerk: s. 1752, a bill to reform procedures or determinations to proceed to trial for court-martial for certain offenses under the uniform code of military justice, and for other purposes. mr. reid: i now ask for its second reading but object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be read for a second time on the next legislative day. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, november 21. following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be
reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of the defense authorization act under the previous order, and that the filing deadline for all first-degree amendments to s. 1197 be 1:00 p.m. on thursday. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until
we're going now to our live booktv coverage from the 64th annual national book awards. booktv will be tweeting live and posting facebook updates throughout the evening. follow us on twitter@booktv. or facebook.com very, booktv. we'll also have live coverage later on after a short dinner break with the national book awards for young people's literature, poetry, non-fiction, and fiction. we're joining us this national book awards. it's getting underway in a few minutes. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]